Holland Sherrer never broke 1:54 during his high school career at Cumberland Regional, but he finished his college career this weekend in style — with a near-PR sub-1:48 performance for 800 meters at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field.
Sherrer’s high school PR was 1:54.12, when he was third in the state Group 4 race in the spring of 2011. He finished behind Bradley Paternoster of Ramapo [1:51.05] and Steve Butenewicz of Delsea [1:53.49] but then inexplicably didn’t compete in the 800 at the Meet of Champs, instead running only a leg on a 400-meter relay team that was DQ’d.
Sherrer, cousin of the famous Vineland Sherrer twins, wound up at Rend Lake Community College in Ina, Ill., where he was a multiple All-America, lowered his PR to 1:52.35 and ran on two JUCO national-champion 3,200-meter relay teams.
Sherrer, who grew up in Deerfield Township, moved on to Mississippi, where he enjoyed a huge breakthrough in the spring of 2014, running 1:48.95. He lowered that to 1:47.74 last year, when he advanced to NCAAs and placed 24th.
This year, he finished his college career in impressive fashion.
Sherrer lowered his PR for a seventh consecutive year, getting as fast as 1:47.13 for fourth at the NCAA East Prelims. That earned him a ticket to NCAAs in Eugene this weekend, where he once again ran very well, just missing a lane in the final.
Sherrer ran 1:47.34 to place sixth in the first of three semifinal races. Sherrer was the fourth-fastest non-qualifier, missing the final by 82/100ths of a second. Because two qualifiers (heat winners) ran slower than him, he wound up with the 10th-fastest time overall.
Sherrer’s 10th-place finish is the best by a Mississippi half-miler at NCAAs since legendary George Kersh won the 1991 championship after placing second in 1990. Victor Shine in 1984 is the only other Ole Miss half-miler to race at outdoor NCAAs.
After not breaking 1:54 in high school, Sherrer finds himself the No. 4 800 runner in Mississippi history. Here’s a look at the all-time top-10:
- 1:44.07 … George Kersh, 1991
- 1:46.13 … Craig Engels, 2016
- 1:46.84 … Thomas Johnson, 1990
- 1:47.13 … Holland Sherrer, 2016
- 1:47.55 … Dameon Morgan, 2016
- 1:47.99 … Sean Tobin, 2014
- 1:48.01 … Victor Shine, 1984
- 1:48.77 … Terrance Manogin, 1994
- 1:49.84 … Alonzo Banks, 1999
- 1:49.85 … Cornelius Tate, 1984